I know we're talking a lot about video game related topics this week here on the Technofile blog. The same will probably be true next week, considering E3 will be taking place. After that things should return to our normal range of topics. Anyway on to today's post. Next week Microsoft and Sony will be holding their press events, and Project Natal (Microsoft's controller-less control system that tracks a player's body movements and translates it into game input) and Move (Sony's wand--shaped motion controller) figure to be major topics for the two companies. Both of these 'next gen' control schemes were clearly inspired by the success of the Nintendo Wii and its motion control system. But the Wii sensation seems to be starting to fade a bit. So how eager are gamers to get their hands on Natal and Move?
Not very, according to a study carried out by research firm OTX. As Gamasutra reports, in a survey of 2,000 gamers only 8% said they intend to buy Natal, and only 6% intend to buy Move. That sounds dire, but I was curious to read that only 15% of those surveyed were even aware of what Natal and Move were. That tells me these weren't the 'core gamers' that game publishers always talk about. Further, those numbers could spike upwards pretty sharply once Microsoft and Sony start actively marketing the two systems. I took my own poll, very unscientific, and found that all of my gaming friends are aware of what Natal and Move are, and most of them are waiting for after E3 to decide if they're going to buy or not. In the case of Natal in particular, price will be a big factor. Rumors have stated that Natal will be $150, which most people I asked thought was too high. A price of under $100 made it sound a lot more appealing to most of the folk I talked to. Also, Microsoft needs to show us more than weird paint apps and that crazy full-body Breakout game if they want to get us excited. The recent video of a Parade writer and his family testing Natal (embedded below) has, if anything, deadened interest in the tech. It was harder to get a read on Move since in general I know fewer people who own a PS3. It sounds like Sony won't have as hard a time selling Move if it comes with a decent game included, given the price is expected to be $60-$70. People have an easier time understanding exactly what Move will be like since it's so similar to the Nintendo Wii Remote, whereas Natal still has them scratching their head, and if Sony launches a game like Wii Sports only with better graphics for $70 people seem willing it give it a shot. Again, all of my 'research' is in the form of me just talking to fellow gamers. Don't go buying or selling shares in MS or Sony based on it. I think by this time next week a lot of gamers will be a lot more sure about whether these new control systems will be on their "to buy" lists or not.